Daily Homilies — December 26-31, 2022

Daily Homilies

Daily Homilies

Daily Homilies

Daily Homilies

Daily Homilies
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DECEMBER
MONDAY


26

Divine
Office

About Today

Invitatory

Office of Readings – Feast

Morning Prayer – Feast

Midmorning Prayer – Feast

Midday Prayer – Feast

Midafternoon Prayer – Feast

Evening Prayer – Feast

Night Prayer

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
“Stephen, Strengthened by the power of his love, he overcame the raging cruelty of Saul and won his persecutor on earth as his companion in heaven” (Saint Fulgentius of Ruspe)
“If not all are called, like St Stephen, to shed their blood, each Christian is, however, asked to be consistent in every circumstance with the faith that he or she professes” (Francis)
“Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy… In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (Acts 7:60).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2,635)
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Feast of Saint Stephen, First Martyr

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Life and death of St. Stephen: Today’s first reading, taken from the Acts of the Apostles, describes the death of Stephen, the first martyr in the history of the Church. Stephen was a zealous Greek convert from Judaism to Christianity. He was chosen by the community and accepted by the Apostles to serve as one of the seven earliest deacons in the Church. These Deacons were meant to help meet the material needs of Greek Christian widows in Jerusalem who had complained that they were being slighted in favor of Hebrew Christian widows in the matter of Church assistance. Stephen was chosen for this ministry of helping the poor because he had good character and was filled with the Holy Spirit. But he was arrested by the Sanhedrin because he was converting numerous Jews to Christianity, and the Jewish leaders could not win against him with arguments. The jealous Jews arranged false witnesses against Stephen. These men accused him of blaspheming against Yahweh and Moses. In his final defense speech before his judges in the Sanhedrin, Stephen, inspired by the Holy Spirit as Jesus had promised all His disciples they would be when called to bear witness to Him, bravely and eloquently defended his belief in Jesus as the promised Messiah. He accused the Jews of unbelief and explained that the sacrifices and sacrificial Laws given by Moses were temporary. When Stephen suddenly announced that he could see Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father, the infuriated Jews mobbed him, dragged him out of the city, and stoned him to death. During the stoning, Stephen bore heroic witness to Jesus, first praying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” and  then, obeying the command of Jesus, prayed loudly for his executioners, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!”  With that, he  “fell asleep.”

Life messageSt. Stephen teaches us how to bear witness to Christ bravely in our lives, when our Faith and its practice are questioned or challenged. St. Stephen’s martyrdom is celebrated on the day following Christmas to remind us of the consequences of giving our lives to Him who was born an infant in Bethlehem —  that we must give Him everything, holding nothing back, even if it means persecution and death.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE LECTIO DIVINA REFLECTION
  • The contrast is enormous. Yesterday, Christmas Day, we had the crib of the newly born child, with the singing of the angels and the visit of the Shepherds. Today here is the blood of Stephen, stoned to death, because he had the courage to believe in the promise expressed in the simplicity of the crib. Stephen criticized the fundamentalist interpretation of the Law of God and the monopoly of the Temple. This is why he was killed (Acts 6: 13-14).
  •  Today, the feast of Stephen, first martyr, the liturgy presents us a passage from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 10: 17-22), taken from the so-called Sermon of the Mission (Mt 10: 5-42). In it Jesus advices the disciples saying that fidelity to the Gospel implies difficulties and persecutions: They will hand you over to the Sanhedrin and scourge you in their synagogues.” But for Jesus what is important in persecution is not the painful side of suffering, but rather the positive side of witnessing: “You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, as evidence to them and to the gentiles.” Persecution offers the occasion of giving witness of the Good News which God brings to us.
  • This is what happened to Stephen. He gave witness of his faith in Jesus up until the last moment of his life. At the hour of his death he says: “I can see Heaven thrown open, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7: 56). And in falling dead under the stones, he imitated Jesus crying out: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” (Acts 7: 60; Lk 23: 34).
  •  Jesus had said: “When they will hand you over to them, do not worry about how or what you have to day, because it will be suggested to you at that moment what you have to say: in fact, it is not you who will speak, but the Spirit of your Father who will speak in you.” This prophecy is also fulfilled in Stephen. His enemies did not succeed to resist the inspired wisdom with which he spoke” (Acts 6: 10). “The members of the Sanhedrin all looked intently on Stephen, and his face appeared to them as the face of an angel” (Acts 6: 15). Stephen spoke “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7: 55). This is why the anger of the others was so great that they killed him.
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Daily Reflections

Courtesy of Presentation Ministries

THE THREE “LAST WORDS” OF STEPHEN

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” —Acts 7:59

On Good Friday, we often hear about the seven “last words” of Jesus, uttered as He hung dying in agony upon the cross. Today, we hear the three “last words” of St. Stephen, uttered as he was being stoned to death for his faith in the crucified and risen Jesus. In perfect imitation of Christ, St. Stephen said:


RUNNING FROM LOVE?

“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” —Acts 7:59

On this second day of Christmas, we have ample proof that Christmas has become too commercialized. Many of us have received all kinds of stuff as presents. We may also feel stuffed from over-indulging in food, drink, TV, shopping, working, etc. We may be smothered in debt. Why do so many feel compelled to go so far overboard at Christmas?


WITNESS STAND

“You will be brought to trial before rulers and kings, to give witness before them.” —Matthew 10:18

Christmas is a special opportunity to witness for Jesus. Because St. Stephen was the first witness to give up his life for Jesus the faithful Witness (Rv 1:5), it is appropriate that he is the first of the Christmas saints. Witnessing is not just saying good things about Jesus. Witnessing is communicating a personal experience of Jesus. St. Stephen was a witness not just because he spoke about Jesus, but because he saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand and proclaimed this to the crowd (see Acts 7:56). Witnesses for Jesus share not just what they have received from other human beings in conversation or instruction. Rather, their witness is based on their personal experience of revelation from Christ (Gal 1:12).


CALVARY-CHRISTMAS

“You will be hated by all on account of Me. But whoever holds out till the end will escape death.” —Matthew 10:22

On this second day of Christmas, the Church presents to us St. Stephen, the first martyr. The festive red color of Christmas is mixed with the blood-red of the martyr. The Church proclaims that Christmas is not just a custom, diversion, or triviality. Christmas is glorious — and serious. Christmas is the proclamation of Jesus’ lordship. It is the Word confronting the world (see Wis 18:15).


CHRISTMAS IS WAR ON THE WORLD

“Then they rushed at him as one man, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him.” —Acts 7:57-58

Most families have special Christmas traditions. On the second day of Christmas, the Catholic family traditionally recalls the brutal murder of St. Stephen, the first martyr. Why recall such a gruesome event, especially at Christmas time?


“DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?”

“They ground their teeth in anger at him.” —Acts 7:54

On this second day of the Church’s Christmas season, the Hallelujahs and Glorias of Christmas Day have already faded away in the secular world. The stores and malls are taking down their decorations. The secular radio stations have returned to playing their normal music. Santa suits are stored in closets, to be pulled out around Halloween 2019. Most particularly, those who persecute Christians have returned to “anger” and fury against those who live for Jesus alone (see Acts 7:54).


MORE HOMILIES

SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

DECEMBER
TUESDAY


27

Divine
Office

About Today

Invitatory

Office of Readings – Feast

Morning Prayer – Feast

Midmorning Prayer – Feast

Midday Prayer – Feast

Midafternoon Prayer – Feast

Evening Prayer – Feast

Night Prayer

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
“John, next to the manger tells us: look at what is granted to those who give themselves to God with a pure heart. They will participate in the total and inexhaustible fullness of the human-divine life of Christ as a real reward.” (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)
“What better comment could there be on the ‘new commandment’ spelled out by John? Let us pray to the Father to be able, even if always imperfectly, to live it so intensely that we share it with those we meet on our way.” (Benedict XVI)
“Taking up St. John’s expression (‘The Word became flesh’: Jn 1:14), the Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it (…).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 461)
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Feast of Saint John,
Apostle and Evangelist

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

St. John the Evangelist was the son of Zebedee the fisherman and Salome, a close relative of Mary. John and his brother, James the Greater, were fishermen, partners of Peter and Andrew; they were disciples of John the Baptist before they were called by Jesus as Apostles. John’s name is mentioned always after his brother’s name in Matthew, Mark, and the Acts of the Apostles. John was the Apostle who saw his only value as being “the one whom Jesus loved.” With James and Peter, Jesus’ inner circle of friends, he witnessed Jesus’ raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead, Jesus’ Transfiguration on the mountain and Jesus’ agony in the garden of Gethsemane. After fleeing with the others from Gethsemane, John returned. He remained faithful to Jesus at the palace of the High Priest during Jesus’ trial by the Sanhedrin, and he had the courage to be at the foot of the cross, supporting and consoling Mary. Jesus entrusted  the care of His mother to John, and, after the Resurrection, John was the one who first recognized the risen Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Missionary activities: With Peter, John played a prominent role in founding and guiding the Church. John was with Peter when the latter healed the lame man (Acts 3:1), was in prison with him (Acts 4:3), and was with him when Peter visited the new Christians in Samaria (Acts 8:14). John left for Asia Minor and Ephesus when King Herod Agrippa I started persecuting Christians. He returned to Jerusalem in AD 51 to attend the Jerusalem Council. According to tradition, when the attempt of Emperor Domitian to execute John by boiling him in oil failed, John was exiled to Patmos Island. As an Evangelist, John wrote five books of the New Testament: The Gospel according to John, three epistles and the Book of Revelation.  He preached always about God’s love in his old age. Returning to Ephesus, John lived there, dying when he was one hundred years old. John reminds us of the greatest commandment of love given by Jesus: “Love one another as I have loved you.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE LECTIO DIVINA REFLECTION

Today’s Gospel presents to us the passage of the Gospel of John which speaks about the Beloved Disciple. Probably, this text was chosen to read and to meditate on it today, feast of Saint John the Evangelist, for the immediate identification that we all make of the beloved disciple with the apostle John. But the strange thing is that in no passage of the Gospel of John it is said that the beloved disciple is John. But then, from the most remote times of the Church, it has always be insisted upon in identifying both of these. Therefore, in insisting on the similarity between the two, we run the risk of losing a very important aspect of the message of the Gospel in regard to the beloved disciple.

  • In the Gospel of John, the beloved disciple represents the new community which is born around Jesus. We find the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the Cross, together with Mary, the mother of Jesus (Jn 19: 26). Mary represents the People of the Old Covenant. At the end of the first century, the time in which the final redaction of the Gospel of John was compiled, there was a growing conflict between the Synagogue and the Church. Some Christians wanted to abandon the Old Testament and remain or keep only the New Testament. At the foot of the Cross, Jesus says: “Woman, behold your son!” and to the Beloved Disciple: “Son, behold your mother!” And both must remain together as mother and son. To separate the Old Testament from the New one, in that time was what we would call today separation between faith (NT) and life (OT).
  • In the Gospel today, Peter and the Beloved Disciple, informed by the witness of Mary Magdalene, ran together toward the Holy Sepulchre. The young one runs faster than the elderly one and reaches the tomb first. He looks inside the tomb, observes everything, but does not enter. He allows Peter to enter first. Here is indicated the way in which the Gospel describes the reaction of the two men before what both of them see: “He entered and saw the linen clothes lying on the ground, and also the cloth that had been over his head; this was not with the linen clothes but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, he saw and he believed.” Both of them saw the same thing, but this is said only of the Beloved Disciple that he believed: “Then the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went in, he saw and he believed.” Why? Is it that Peter did not believe?
  • The Beloved Disciple looks, sees in a different way, he perceives more than the others. He has a loving look which perceives the presence of the novelty of Jesus. The morning after that night of working, looking for fish and, then the miraculous catch of fish, it is he, the beloved disciple who perceives the presence of Jesus and says: “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21: 7). On that occasion, Peter informed by the affirmation of the Beloved Disciple, also recognizes, and begins to understand. Peter learns from the Beloved Disciple. Then Jesus asks three times: “Peter, do you love me?” (Jn 21: 15, 16, 17). Three times Peter answers: “You know that I love you!” After the third time, Jesus entrusts the flock to the care of Peter, and in that moment, Peter also becomes a “Beloved Disciple.”
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Daily Reflections

Courtesy of Presentation Ministries

LOVE SUPREME, INFINITE, AND DIVINE

“On the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away, so she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple (the one Jesus loved) and told them…” —John 20:1-2

St. John has been traditionally identified with “the beloved disciple” (Jn 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7). However, the Church has also interpreted John 19:26 to mean that the beloved disciple may not be specifically named to show that he represents all of Jesus’ disciples for all times. All of Jesus’ disciples are beloved. All of His disciples can have a miraculous, mysterious relationship with Him in the Eucharist (see Jn 13:23). All of Jesus’ disciples must stand at the foot of the cross (Jn 19:26), deny themselves, and take up the cross each day (Lk 9:23). All of Jesus’ disciples can and must believe in the risen Lord (Jn 20:2) and exclaim publicly: “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7)


THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT OF LOVE

“On the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb. She saw that the stone had been moved away, so she ran off to Simon Peter and the other disciple (the one Jesus loved) and told them…” —John 20:1-2

On this third day of Christmas, our true Love, Jesus, gives us the opportunity to contemplate the life of St. John, who is traditionally identified as the beloved disciple. In doing this, we will have “fellowship” with John and all the saints (1 Jn 1:3). In our communion with them, we abide in love and abide in God (1 Jn 4:16). Thus, on this third day of Christmas, our true Love gives us love and the grace to love so deeply that we abide in love forever.


BETTER THAN THE INCARNATION?

“This life became visible.” —1 John 1:2

St. John proclaims the Incarnation in a spectacular fashion. The God Who is outside of time and space has entered into both in order to be with us, to become flesh and make His dwelling among us (Jn 1:14). Human beings could see, touch, hear, and even eat Jesus, the Word made flesh (1 Jn 1:1-2; Jn 6:50-58). St. John never got over the marvelous truth of the Incarnation, that the majestic God of Whom he wrote could be embraced, heard, and seen. John even leaned back against Jesus and felt Jesus’ Sacred Heart beating. John knew what he was talking about when he wrote of the Word becoming flesh (Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 1:1ff).


THE LOVE BEYOND ALL TELLING

“This fellowship of ours is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.” —1 John 1:3

The birth of Jesus made it possible for people to see, hear, touch, and hold Jesus (see 1 Jn 1:1ff). It made it possible to have a personal relationship with Him.

MORE HOMILIES

SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

DECEMBER
WEDNESDAY


28

Divine
Office

About Today

Invitatory

Office of Readings – Feast

Morning Prayer – Feast

Midmorning Prayer – Feast

Midday Prayer – Feast

Midafternoon Prayer – Feast

Evening Prayer – Feast

Night Prayer

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
“Why do you fear, Herod, when you hear that a King has been born? (…). You kill the body of children because fear has killed your heart” (Saint Quodvultdeus)
“The Son of God —the eternal Word— has become a child so that God is within our reach. He thus teaches us to love the little ones; to love the weak; to respect children.” (Benedict XVI)
“The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: ‘He came to his own home, and his own people received him not’ (Jn 1:11). Christ’s whole life was lived under the sign of persecution.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 530)
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Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

The Holy Innocents whom this Mass commemorates were  the children slaughtered by the soldiers  under the  the orders of Herod the Great in his fruitless pursuit of the “newborn king of the Jews.” In our times this Mass includes the the untold numbers of innocent babies slaughtered  by abortion. The Feast also reminds us of Pharoah’s murder of the male children of the Hebrews at the time of Moses’ birth.

The context: Herod the Great had been made the king of Judea by the Roman Empire although he was not even a Jew: his father was an Idumean, his mother an Arab.  This cruel king was kept in power mainly by the Roman army. He brutally executed all suspected rivals to his throne including his wife, brother, and two brothers-in-law.  No wonder he was terrified at the news that a rival king, a descendant of King David, had been born somewhere in Bethlehem, for this child could someday claim to be the legitimate king of Israel and Judea! Herod’s anger intensified when he realized that the Magi had not returned to his royal palace to report the whereabouts of the Child Jesus. Matthew says that the slaughter of the Innocents was in fulfillment of a prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly; it is Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”  Ramah is a hill near Bethlehem and the burial place of Rachel, the wife of the patriarch Jacob. The Jews believed that she wept bitterly in her tomb when the Jews were taken as slaves by the Assyrians and later when Herod massacred the babies. The most likely scenario is that Jesus was born around 4 BC; the wise men (by their own account) arrived in Jerusalem two years later in 2 B.C., and in that same year Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fled to Egypt. When Herod died, they returned.  So, the length of their sojourn in Egypt was probably about a few months.

Life message: We need to raise our voice against the 21st century massacre of the Innocents: As in other advanced countries, the cruel massacre of the innocents, though now illegal in America since the Supreme Court’s 2022 overturn of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court’s decision of 1973, continues elsewhere in the world, and in America, the proponents of Abortion on demand are have shifted their fight their fight in the mid-year elections for members  the Senate and the House of as well as in the legislatures of  the individual states.  While Herod killed at the most a hundred children, nearly four thousand unborn babies are slaughtered in the United States every day.  They are killed because, like the infants of Bethlehem, they are inconvenient.  Children are sacrificed also for the most powerful king of the twenty-first century, Science.  Babies are killed in their embryo stage to harvest their “stem cells” for medical experiments intended to heal the illnesses of their parents and grandparents. Along with prayer, let us do everything in our power to stop this brutal murder of the helpless babies.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE LECTIO DIVINA REFLECTION

Recalling the experience of exile and slavery of the people of Egypt and their return to their homeland recalls for us the Passover of the Hebrews, thus opening the passage to its greater meaning. Furthermore, the perspective given by the text underlines the accomplishment of the Word of God within human experience, even in those people who are the most crewel. From this emerges the readiness of God to protect the gift given to humankind throughout history: his own Son. But the Son of God is not preserved from pain, another reason for us to grasp the future characteristic of the Easter event. Jesus is saved at this moment so that he can in the future announce the Word in order to give life when the time comes. And the protector is Joseph, a wise man, who knows how to listen (see Mt 1: 20 & 2: 19) and act accordingly. Herod accomplishes his slaughter, driven by his fear of losing his power and infuriated by failed success of his attempted deception of the Magi. The text expresses it as if it were he who was deceived, and thus it shows the evil reasoning of power, its arrogance that believes that the one who opposes is always wrong. So we are drawn to ask ourselves why God allows all this. But perhaps this question may conceal our responsibility: our greed and thirst for power, our roots of cruelty that history experiences in every age. And so God answers the question regarding “the why of evil,” and he does it not with words but through incarnation in this our history. Thus establishing a history of salvation. That is why Easter, with its light, is on the horizon at Christmas.

SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Daily Reflections

Courtesy of Presentation Ministries

RECOVER YOUR INNOCENCE

“I am writing this to keep you from sin.” —1 John 2:1

Jesus Christ became man to overcome the bondage and death due to sin. In Jesus, we are no longer doomed to be subject to the tyranny of the world, the flesh, and the devil (1 Jn 2:16). Jesus has come to declare the victory of innocence over evil, of the Spirit over the flesh. It seems as if innocence once lost is impossible to be restored. Today’s feast of the Holy Innocents celebrates not the massacre of innocent babies by King Herod, but rather the victory of that innocence over perversion and evil.


CONFORMED TO CHRIST

Herod “ordered the massacre of all the boys two years old and under in Bethlehem.” —Matthew 2:16

Each baby boy killed that morning over two-thousand years ago in Bethlehem died because he was mistaken for Jesus (Mt 2:13-16). The soldiers who killed the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem thought they were killing Christ, or someone who could be Jesus. To the killers, the children were indistinguishable from Christ.


ROYAL FLUSH

Herod “ordered the massacre of all the boys two years old and under in Bethlehem.” —Matthew 2:16

Herod understood part of the meaning of Christmas. He understood that Jesus’ life and birth were an immediate and a long-term threat to his kingship. Herod understood and believed what Mary prophesied in relation to Jesus’ birth. In her “Magnificat,” she proclaimed: The Lord “has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry He has given every good thing, while the rich He has sent empty away” (Lk 1:52-53). In addition, Herod anticipated another prophecy relating to Jesus. Even before Simeon got the words out, Herod knew Jesus was a “Sign of contradiction” (Lk 2:34, our transl.).


HERODS CAN BECOME “HOLY INNOCENTS”

“…Rachel bewailing her children; no comfort for her, since they are no more.” —Matthew 2:18

Why does the Lord permit evil? Why did He allow “the massacre of all the boys two years old and under in Bethlehem and its environs”? (Mt 2:16) One explanation is that He loves the Herods of the world very much and wants to save them all (see 1 Tm 2:4). The suffering of these innocents is the most powerful means in God’s plan of salvation for changing the most hardened Herod-hearts. We see this in the deaths of the martyrs and especially in the sufferings and death of Jesus, the most “holy Innocent” of all.

MORE HOMILIES

SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

DECEMBER
THURSDAY


29

Divine
Office

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer

Night Prayer

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
“If He had not been born in time, you would have been dead for all eternity. Let us joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption.” (Saint Augustine)
“Simeon recognized that Child as the Savior, but he foresaw in the Spirit that the destinies of humanity would be played out around him. Having “touched” the Salvation, the enthusiasm of Simeon was so great that to live and to die were one and the same.” (Benedict XVI)
“The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. With Simeon and Anna (…) Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the ‘light to the nations’ and the ‘glory of Israel’, but also ‘a sign that is spoken against’. The sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ’s perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had ‘prepared in the presence of all peoples’.” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 529)
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The Fifth Day in the Octave of Christmas

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

The context: Today’s Gospel presents the head of the Holy Family, Joseph, faithfully obeying God’s law given through Moses concerning the purification of the mother and the redeeming of the child by presenting Mary and the Baby Jesus in the Temple. The events recounted are those we traditionally celebrate on February 2nd with the Feast of Presentation of Jesus. We celebrate them today in order to group all the events of Christ’s Infancy within the Octave of Christmas.  Today (and on February 2nd), we celebrate a combined feastcommemorating the Jewish practice of the purification of the mother 40 days  after childbirth and the presentation of the child in the Temple. It is known as the Hypanthe feast or Feast of the Purification of Mary (by the offering two pigeons in the Temple), the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord (by prayers and a sacrifice offered in the Temple to redeem or buy back the firstborn male child from the Lord), and the Feast of Encounter (because the New Testament, represented by the Baby Jesus, encountered the Old Testament, represented by Simeon and Anna). On February 2nd we celebrate these events as a formal ending of the Christmas season. On that day we also celebrate the Feast of Candlemas (because candles are blessed then for liturgical and personal use).

Purification and redemption ceremonies: The Mosaic Law taught that, since every Jewish male child belonged to Yahweh, the parents had to “buy back” the child (“redeem” him), by offering lambs or turtledoves as a sacrifice in the Temple. In addition (Nm 18:15), every mother had to be purified after childbirth by prayers and an offering made to God in the Temple. Joseph kept these laws as an act of obedience to God.

The encounter with Simeon and Anna:  By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the old, pious and Spirit-filled Simeon and Anna had been waiting in the Temple for the revelation of God’s salvation. Simeon recognized Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One, and in his prayer of blessing, he prophesied that Jesus was meant to be “A light for Revelation to the Gentiles and for Glory to Your People, Israel” While he blessed Mary, he warned that her child would be “a sign of contradiction” and that her own soul would be “pierced with a sword.” Simeon was prophesying both the universal salvation that would be proclaimed by Jesus and the necessity of suffering in the mission of the Messiah.

Life message: 1) Every Holy Mass in which we participate is our presentation. Although we were officially presented to God on the day of our Baptism, we present ourselves and our dear ones on the altar before God our Father through our Savior Jesus Christ at every Holy Mass. Hence, we need to live our daily lives with the awareness both that we are dedicated people consecrated to God and that we are obliged to lead holy lives.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE LECTIO DIVINA REFLECTION
  • The first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke are not a history according to the meaning that we give to history. They rather serve more than everything else, as a mirror in which the converted Christians from Paganism, discover that Christ had come to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament and to respond to the more profound aspirations of the human heart. They are then, symbol and mirror of what was happening among the Christians at the time of Luke. The communities coming from Paganism were born from the communities of converted Jews, but they were diverse. The New did not correspond to what the Old imagined and expected. It was a “sign of contradiction” (Lk 2: 34), it caused tension and it was a source of great suffering, of pain. In the attitude of Mary the image of the People of God, Luke represents a model of how to persevere in the New, without being unfaithful to the Old.
  • In these two chapters of the Gospel of Luke, everything turns around the birth of the two children: John and Jesus. The two chapters make us feel the perfume of the Gospel of Luke. In them, the environment is one of tenderness and of praise. From the beginning to the end, there is praise and singing, because, finally, the mercy of God has been revealed in Jesus; he fulfills the promises made to the Fathers. And God fulfils them on behalf of the poor, of the anawim, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, Anne and Simeon, the shepherds. All of them knew how to wait for his coming.
  • The insistence of Luke in saying that Mary and Joseph fulfilled everything which the Law prescribes, recalls what Paul writes in the Letter to the Galatians: “When the completion of the time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born a subject of 65 the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law so that we could receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4: 4-5).
  • The story of the old Simeon teaches that hope, even if not immediately, will be realized someday. It is not frustrated, it is realized. But the way does not always correspond to what we imagine. Simeon was waiting for the glorious Messiah of Israel. Going to the Temple in the midst of many couples who were taking their child, he sees the realization of his hope and of the hope of the People:“My eyes have seen the salvation, which you have made ready in the sight of the nations, a light of revelation for the Gentiles and glory for your People Israel.”
  • In the text of today’s Gospel, we have the preferred themes of Luke, that is, a strong insistence on the action of the Holy Spirit, on prayer and on the prayer environment, a continuous attention to the action and participation of the women and a constant concern for the poor and of the message for the poor.
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Daily Reflections

Courtesy of Presentation Ministries

OBEDIENCE: THE ROAD TO LOVE

“Whoever keeps His word, truly has the love of God been made perfect in him.” —1 John 2:5

The purpose of the Christmas season is to grow greatly in love for Jesus. To grow in love requires God’s grace, our willingness to accept His grace, and a process by which we are transformed and made more capable of loving. We go through this process of transformation by taking step after step in obedience. “By obedience to the truth” we purify ourselves “for a genuine love” (1 Pt 1:22). “The way we can be sure of our knowledge of Him is to keep His commandments” (1 Jn 2:3).

CHRISTMAS LOVE AND EVANGELIZATION

“Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace; You have fulfilled Your word. For my eyes have witnessed Your saving deed.” —Luke 2:29-30

Most people associate Christmas with love. All of us like to think of ourselves as being loving. Most people even say that love is the meaning of life. But what is love?

Love is not necessarily a feeling. It is not usually expressed in sexual attraction or sexual relations. It is not merely being nice to people or doing good deeds for others.


LOVE TO OBEY

“They came…in accord with the dictate in the law of the Lord.” —Luke 2:24

In today’s Gospel reading recounting the presentation of Jesus and the purification of Mary in the Temple, Mary and Joseph do everything according to the law of Moses. Mary presents herself in the Temple to be purified forty days after the “uncleanness” of childbirth, though this was unnecessary since she was sinless and ever pure (see Lv 12:6-8). Mary and Joseph offered their first-born Son, Jesus, to the Lord, though this was unnecessary because the Baby Jesus was God Himself. However, the law required the first-born son to be presented to the Lord (Ex 13:2). They brought two turtledoves, which shows they were poor. Those who were more prosperous would have offered a lamb (see Lv 12:6-8). They offered one of the doves as a “sin offering,” even though they had not sinned (see Lv 12:8).


HIS BIRTH AND OUR DEATHS

“Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace.” —Luke 2:29

Simeon told the Lord, His Master, that he was ready to die now that he had seen Jesus alive. This points out the connection between our deaths and Jesus’ birth. The Church emphasizes this connection by celebrating the deaths of St. Thomas Becket today, the Holy Innocents yesterday, and St. Stephen on the second day of Christmas.

Jesus’ birth and our deaths go together because Jesus has revealed to us that our deaths are births into the eternal life of heaven (see Rm 6:8). Death is not the end of life, but the end of earthly limitations on life. “Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known” (1 Cor 13:12).


OPPOSITES STILL ATTRACT

“This Child…is a Sign That will be opposed.” —Luke 2:34

Now that Christmas Day has passed, Santa and his elves have disappeared, to be forgotten until next November (or October). Jesus, however, remains. He was opposed in the recent months before His birthday. The “politically correct” of the world opposed Him by refusing to mention His name for months, using only the term “holidays” rather than the term which bears His name, “Christmas.” He was in effect opposed by Santa, who was used by the world to distract millions of people who might otherwise prepare to welcome Jesus on His birthday.

MORE HOMILIES

SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

DECEMBER
FRIDAY


30

Divine
Office

About Today

Invitatory – Feast

Office of Readings – Feast

Morning Prayer – Feast

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer – Feast

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer II – Feast

Night Prayer

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
“When the Wise men tell Herod of one who is born a king, he is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come” (Saint Quodvultdeus)
“How important it is that every child coming into the world be welcomed by the warmth of a family! External comforts do not matter: Jesus was born in a stable and had a manger as his first cradle, but the love of Mary and of Joseph made him feel the tenderness and beauty of being loved” (Benedict XVI)
“The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: ‘He came to his own home, and his own people received him not’ (Jn 1:11)” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 530)
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Feast of The Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Introduction: [Usually this Feast of the Holy Family is celebrated on the Sunday between Christmas, December 25, and January 1,  but when a Sunday does not occur  between them, as is the case this year, 2022,  we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family on December 30.] We are here today to offer all the members of our own families on the altar for God’s blessing.

The first reading is a commentary on the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother.” Ben Sirach has many good things to say about living properly according to the Torah.  Sirach reminds children of their duty to honor their parents – even when it becomes difficult. He also mentions the two-fold reward which God promises to those who honor their father and mother. The first reward is “riches,” and the second, long life: “Whoever reveres his father will live a long life.” He reminds children that God blesses them if they obey, revere, and show compassion to their father.

Paul, in the letter to the Colossians, advises us that we should put on love and remain thankful in our relationships with one another. Paul’s advice is part of the “Household Code” – the rules for members of the Christian family. Though the details date to Paul’s time, the underlying message of being careful with one another – being full of care for one another– is timeless. Paul teaches that children should learn and practice noble qualities like compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and sharing in the warmth of the family. In a truly holy family, all members are respected, cherished, nurtured, and supported, united through the bond of love.

Today’s Gospel describes how Joseph and Mary protected the Child Jesus from the sword of King Herod by escaping with Him to Egypt.

Life messages: 1) We need to learn lessons from the Holy Family: The Church encourages us to look to the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph for inspiration, example and encouragement.   They were a model family in which both parents worked hard, helped each other, understood and accepted each other, and took good care of their Child so that he might grow up not only in human knowledge but also as a Child of God.

2) We need to make the family a confessional rather than a courtroom.  A senior Judge of the Supreme Court congratulated the bride and groom in a marriage with a pertinent piece of advice: “See that you never convert your family into a courtroom; instead let it be a confessional. If the husband and wife start arguing like attorneys in an attempt to justify their behavior, their family becomes a court of law and nobody wins.  On the other hand, if the husband and the wife — as in a confessional — are ready to admit their faults and try to correct them, the family becomes a heavenly one.”

3) Marriage is a sacrament of holiness. Each family is called to holiness. By the Sacrament of Matrimony (marriage), Jesus sanctifies not only the spouses but also the entire family. The husband and wife attain holiness when they discharge their duties faithfully, trusting in God, and drawing on the power of God by prayer.

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE LECTIO DIVINA REFLECTION

Matthew’s Gospel has been called “the Gospel of the Kingdom.” Matthew invites us to reflect on the coming of the kingdom of heaven. Some have seen in the structure of his Gospel narration a drama in seven acts that deal with the coming of this Kingdom. The drama begins with the preparation for the coming of the Kingdom in the person of the boy Messiah and ends with the coming of the Kingdom in the suffering and triumph of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God. The Gospel passage presented to us for reflection, is part of the so-called first act where Matthew introduces to us the person of Jesus as the fulfillment of the Scriptures. Matthew’s is the Gospel that often quotes the Old Testament to show that in Christ the law and the prophets are fulfilled. Jesus, the fulfillment and perfection of the Scriptures, came into the world to re-establish the kingdom of heaven already proclaimed in the covenant made by God with his people. With the coming of Christ, this covenant is no longer reserved for the Jewish people alone but is extended to all peoples. Matthew addresses himself to a community of Christian Jews, persecuted by the synagogue, and invites it to be open to the gentiles. He is the wise scribe who knows how to draw from his treasury that which is old and new. His Gospel was first written in Aramaic and then translated into Greek. Matthew 2: 13-23 is part of the section that deals with the birth and childhood of “Jesus Christ son of David, son of Abraham” (Mt 1: 1). Jesus is the son of his people, but he is also son of the whole of humanity. In his genealogy we find foreign influences (Mt 1: 3- 6). After Mary his mother, the first called to pay homage to the newborn Messiah are the Magi (Mt 2: 11). With his light, the Messiah draws the wise to himself and offers them salvation (Mt 2: 1-12). The Magi receive this salvation, unlike Herod and the troubled citizens of Jerusalem (Mt 2: 3). From the very time of his birth Jesus is persecuted by the leaders of his people and at the same time relives the painful experiences of his people. From the very time of his birth, Jesus relives the painful experience of his people in exile, humbled again and again. The Gospel shows us this by telling us of the flight into Egypt and the murder of the innocents. The drama of these events unfolds before us in the following details:

  • The angel who appears in a dream to Joseph after the Magi leave, and the flight into Egypt (Mt 2: 13-15).
  • Herod who becomes aware of the deceit of the Magi and kills all the children in Bethlehem (Mt 2: 16-18).
  • The death of Herod and the “clandestine” return of the Holy Family not to Bethlehem but to Galilee (Mt 2: 19-23).

The theme of kings killing those whom they fear is common in the history of every royal dynasty. Apart from this scene of Herod seeking out the child Jesus to kill him, in Bible literature in the Old Testament we find similar stories. In the first book of Samuel, Saul who has been rejected by the Lord feared David and sought to kill him (1 Sam 15; 18; 19; 20). Michal and Jonathan help David to flee (1 Sam 19; 20). Again in the first book of Kings, king Solomon in his old age, unfaithful to the God of his fathers and with a perverted heart, commits what is evil in the sight of the Lord (1 Kings 11: 3-13). For this, the Lord raises up an adversary against Solomon (1 Kings 11: 14), Hadad who during David’s reign flees and takes refuge in Egypt (1 Kings 11: 17). Another of Solomon’s adversaries is Jeroboam who takes refuge in Egypt to get away from the king who wanted to kill him (1 Kings 11: 40). Such were the dangers of a degenerate kingdom. In the second book of Kings, this time in the context of the siege of Jerusalem, “In the ninth year of his [Nebuchadnezzar] reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month” (2 Kings 25: 1) of the year 589, we read of the sacking of Jerusalem and of the second deportation of the people in the year 587 (2 Kings 25: 8-21). The people who “remained in the land of Judah” (2 Kings 25: 22) submit to Gedaliah who was appointed governor by Nebuchadnezzar. “Ishmael […] and ten men with him […] murdered Gedaliah, as well as the Judaeans and the Chaldaeans who were with him.” Then from fear of the Chaldaeans, they fled into Egypt (2 Kings 25-26). In the book of the prophet Jeremiah, we also find the story of Uriah “another man, too, who used to prophesy in the name of Yahweh” (Jer 26: 20). Uriah flees into Egypt because king Jehoiakim sought to kill him. The king in fact did find him in Egypt and killed him (Jer 25: 20-24). With these events as background to the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, Matthew shows us Jesus, from his very childhood, as partaking of the fate of his people. Egypt, for Jesus, becomes the place of refuge, as it was for the patriarchs:

  • Abraham who “went down into Egypt to stay there for the time, since the land was hard pressed by the famine” (Gen 12: 10).
  • Joseph was threatened by his brothers who sought to kill him out of envy and was then sold to merchants who led him into Egypt and sold him to Potiphar (Gen 37: 12-36).
  • Israel (Jacob) who goes to Egypt called by his son Joseph (Gen 46: 1-7).
  • The family of Israel (Jacob) that goes to Egypt to establish themselves there (Gen 46– 50; Es 1: 1-6).

Matthew turns the citation from Hosea 11: 1 upside down: “I called my son out of Egypt,” and interprets it as if God called his son Jesus to flee into Egypt (Mt 2: 15). The original meaning of Hosea was, that the Lord called his son Israel to leave Egypt in order to start a nation. Jesus’ flight into Egypt and the killing of the innocents of Bethlehem remind us of the oppression of Israel in Egypt and the killing of all the new- born males (Es 1: 8- 22). The prophecy applied to the murder of the innocents is taken from the book of consolation made up of chapters 30 and 31 of the book of Jeremiah. The lamentationis connected with the promise of the Lord who consoles Rachel, Jacob’s (Israel’s) spouse, mother of Joseph, who according to tradition was buried close to Bethlehem, and promises her that she will be rewarded for her sorrow, her children who are no longer will come back (Jer 31: 15-18). When they come back from Egypt after the death of Herod, Joseph decides to live in Galilee in a city called Nazareth. Jesus will be called the Nazarene. Later also, his 68 disciples will be known as Nazarenes (Acts 24: 5). Apart from indicating the name of a city, this name may also refer to the “shoot,” that is the «neçer» of Isaiah 11: 1. Or it may refer to the rest of Israel, the «naçur» (see Is 42: 6).

SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Daily Reflections

Courtesy of Presentation Ministries

THE FAMILY FIGHTS BACK

“The Lord sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority He confirms over her sons. He who honors his father atones for sins.” —Sirach 3:2-3

The Christian family is being assaulted with a vehemence which is unprecedented. Promiscuity, contraception, abortion, abuses, addictions, and divorces are rampant. Bitterness, resentments, and unforgiveness poison family relationships. Fewer families are surviving.


THE ETERNAL FAMILY REUNION

“Christ’s peace must reign in your hearts.” —Colossians 3:15

We want to celebrate Christmas with our families. Therefore, Christmas is especially difficult for us if a loved one has died in the last year. However, we have the great hope of our families getting together for the eternal happiness of heaven. We will have a family reunion in heaven in the not too distant future, and if the Lord has His way, not one family member will be missing.


HEROD IN YOUR HOME

“Herod is searching for the Child to destroy Him.” —Matthew 2:13

Modern-day “Herods” are still searching for children to destroy them. These Herods gain entry to the home right under the nose of the parents, who are paralyzed or asleep on the watch. Once the new Herods gain access to the home, they soon attempt to take over formation of the children in that home.

This week, a priest told me that St. Teresa of Avila prophesied in the sixteenth century that evil would come into every home through a black “box.” There are many such “boxes” in the modern home. Video games and cartoons often immerse children in violence.


FAMILY PHOTOS

“Get up, take the Child and His mother, and set out.” —Matthew 2:20

Many families have photographs of special occasions. Let’s open the photo album of the Holy Family. Here’s a photo of Jesus placed in a manger after being born in a stable (Lk 2:7). In addition to showing God’s love and the Holy Family’s poverty, this photo indicates that the Holy Family was rejected, as Mary and Joseph were forced to have their baby in a stable. Families today are also rejected by our culture of death. Moreover, family members even reject one another. When we see Jesus in the manger, let’s think not only of rejection, but also let us accept the grace to forgive those who have sinned against us and rejected us.

MORE HOMILIES

SOURCE: Presentation Ministries

DECEMBER
SATURDAY


31

Divine
Office

Invitatory

Office of Readings

Morning Prayer

Midmorning Prayer

Midday Prayer

Midafternoon Prayer

Evening Prayer I – Solemnity

Night Prayer I

Thoughts
on Today’s
Gospel

Courtesy of EVANGELI.NET
“Let us always proceed not according to our own will, nor according to our own mind, but even as He has chosen to teach them by the Holy Scriptures.” (Saint Hippolytus)
“In concluding this year, in giving thanks and in asking for forgiveness, it will be good for us to ask for the grace to be able to walk in freedom.” (Francis)
“Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son. For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (Jn 1:1).” (Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Nº 240-241)

The Seventh Day in the Octave of Christmas

FR. TONY'S GOSPEL COMMENTARY

Dec 31: Saturday: (Year-end  Day reflections on 31st December 2022)

1) This is a day to thank our loving God for protecting, strengthening, guiding, and providing for us all through the year and  for giving us an extension to our life till the year-end and for all His blessings showered on us throughout this year.

2)    This is the last day of the year for us to evaluate our life in the past year.

a)    Did we return the love we received from our family members, co-workers, friends and neighbors? Did we practice the new and the greatest commandment given by Jesus: “Love others as I have loved you”?

b)    Was I a barren fig tree in the Lord’s orchard by not practicing any virtues, or a grapevine producing bitter fruits of hatred, jealousy, prejudice and intolerance?

c)     Was I able to control my evil tendencies, sinful habits and dangerous addictions, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit living within me and invoking His assistance every day?

d)    Did I try to see the presence of Jesus within me and within everyone who came in contact with me? Did I try to honor and respect each of them?

e)     Was I grateful to God who extended my life to see another year, Who blessed me with bodily and mental health and Who healed me from my illnesses, or gave me the strength, courage, and trust in Him, to bear them cheerfully as precious gifts to be joined to His sufferings for the salvation of us all, and to love and thank our care-givers daily?

f)      Did I find time every day to listen to God by reading and meditating on a portion of the Bible? Did I talk to Him in personal and family prayers?

g)     Did I realize the truth that the gift of time is God’s precious gift, and one hour wasted or misused a day is 15 days wasted or misused in the passing year for which I am accountable?

3)    This is a day of seeking God’s pardon and forgiveness for our sins and failures and a day to prepare keep-able promises for the New Year, resolving not to fall into the same sinful habits.

4)    Year-end Day is the day to offer our life to God on the altar and pray for   extra strength and divine assistance and daily fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit every day of the New Year. (L/22)

SOURCE: Fr. Tony’s Homilies
CARMELITE LECTIO DIVINA REFLECTION
  • The Prologue is the first thing which one sees in opening the Gospel of John. But it was the last one to be written. It is the final summary, placed at the beginning. In it, John describes the way of the Word of God. It was at the side of God, before the creation, and through him all things were created, Everything which exists is an expression of the Word of God. As it happens with the Wisdom of God, (Pr 8: 22-31), in the same way also the Word wishes to get closer to us and becomes flesh in Jesus. It comes in our midst and carries out its mission and returned to God. Jesus is this Word of God. Everything that it says and does is communication which reveals the Father to us.
  • In saying: “In the beginning was the Word,” John recalls the first phrase of the Bible which says: “In the beginning God created heaven and earth” (Gen 1: 1). God created all things by means of his Word. “He speaks and everything is made” (Ps 33: 9; 148: 5). All creatures are an expression of the Word of God. This living Word of God, present in all things, shines in darkness. Darkness tries to overpower it, but it could not succeed. The search for God which is always new, is reborn in the human heart. Nobody succeeds in covering it. We cannot bear to live without God for a longtime!
  • John the Baptist comes to help people to discover and to relish this luminous and consoling presence of the Word of God in life. The witness of John the Baptism has been very important, so much so that many people thought that he was the Christ (Messiah) (Acts 19: 3; Jn 1: 20). This is why the Prologue clarifies saying: “John was not the light!. He has come to bear witness to the light!”
  • Thus as the Word of God manifests itself in nature, in creation, so also it is manifested inthe “world,” that is in the history of humanity, particularly, in the history of the People of God. But the “world” does not recognize, does not receive the Word. “He came to his own and his own people did not accept him.” Here when he says people, John wants to indicate the system of the empire as well as that of the religion of the time, both of them closed up in themselves and, because of this, incapable to recognize the Good News (Gospel), the luminous presence of the Word of God. 70 • But the persons who open themselves to accept the Word, become sons and daughters of God. The person becomes son or daughter of God not because of his/her own merits, neither because of belonging to the race of Israel, but because of the simple fact of having trust and believing that God in His goodness, accepts and receives us. The Word of God penetrates within the person and makes the person feel accepted as a son, as a daughter of God. This is the power of the grace of God.
  • God does not want to remain far away from us. Because of this, His Word, gets closer and becomes present in our midst in the Person of Jesus. The Prologue literally says: “And the Word became flesh and lived among us.” In ancient times, at the time of Exodus, in the desert, God lived in a tent among the people (Ex 25: 8). Now, the tent in which God dwells with us is Jesus, “filled with grace and truth.” Jesus comes to reveal who is this our God, present in everything, from the beginning of creation
SOURCE: Carmelite Lectio Divina

Daily Reflections

Courtesy of Presentation Ministries

HOW TO END A YEAR

“Children, it is the final hour; just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many such antichrists have appeared.” —1 John 2:18

Many “antichrists have appeared.” “It was from our ranks that they took their leave — not that they really belonged to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have stayed with us” (1 Jn 2:19). There are baptized Christians who are officially members of the Church but do not belong to the Church in their hearts. These people have joined the Church socially and culturally but have not totally given their lives to Jesus and His Body, the Church. They have been sacramentalized but not evangelized and are in danger of becoming antichrists.


TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE OF 2021

“Children, it is the final hour.” —1 John 2:18

On this last day of the year, let us:

  • take out all the garbage of the year 2021 and any other years,
  • finish any unfinished business,
  • repent and confess all our sins (see 1 Jn 1:9),
  • forgive all who have sinned against us (see Mt 6:12),
  • be reconciled with those who have something against us (see Mt 5:23ff),
  • answer every calling from God, and
  • obey all God’s commands (see 1 Jn 5:3).

THE END

“Children, it is the final hour.” —1 John 2:18

On this last day of the year, you may look back on 2020 and see that many antichrists have appeared (1 Jn 2:18). It may have been a very difficult year. However, tough years need not be bad years. Even the most “impossible” year can be good. Even the most sinful year can be turned to the good by repentance, forgiveness, and total commitment to Jesus. “All’s well that ends well.” End this year by accepting God’s grace.


OIL CHANGE

“You have the anointing.” —1 John 2:20

The word “Christ” means “Anointed One,” the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah.” Therefore, by calling ourselves “Christians,” we call ourselves “anointed ones.” Moreover, the word “Christmas” means “the Mass of the Anointed One.” The word “antichrist” means “against the Anointed One.” Thus, the idea of anointing is very dominant in Christianity or, we could say, in “the way of the Anointed.”


LOVE-CHRISTMAS

“The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” —John 1:14

“Jesus Christ is true God and true man” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 464). At His birth, Jesus moved from the womb of Mary to the outside world. This made it possible for people to relate to Him in a personal way. Jesus was then able to be held, kissed, touched, seen, and heard. He was also able to be hit, hurt, rejected, and crucified. The change from being in the womb to living in the outside world is dangerous. That’s why we celebrate a birth. A dangerous transition has been made without any serious problems, although the danger of living in a fallen world still remains.

MORE HOMILIES

SOURCE: Presentation Ministries – One Bread, One Body